Liposuction Frequently Asked Questions
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a common surgical procedure where deposits of excess adipose tissue (fat) are removed from “trouble spot” areas of the body, including the abdomen, flanks (love handles), bra strap, arms, male chest, chin, lower back, outer thighs, inner thighs, and “saddle bags”.
Liposuction is performed with a thin wand called a “cannula” which is inserted into the desired area after the area is numbed. The cannula is attached to a vacuum which removes the fat from the body.
The amount that is removed varies greatly depending on the person’s weight, what areas they are working on, and how many areas they are having done at the same time. The amount of fat and “aspirate” (fat and numbing fluid combined) that is removed ranges from one liter to up to 4 liters.
Liposuction helps individuals who have “trouble spots” that are resistant to diet and exercise. These stubborn areas are often hereditary and sometimes not proportionate to the rest of their body. Even individuals who are in good shape can struggle with areas such as love handles that just don’t seem to want to respond to diet and exercise.
What is Laser Liposuction?
Laser Liposuction is a variation of liposuction where two important distinctions from traditional liposuction occur.
- The first is the use of local (tumescent) anesthesia. This method of anesthesia provides the safest course and greatly minimizes potential risk.
- The second distinction from traditional liposuction is the use of a laser to liquefy the fat and help tighten the skin. This cutting edge technology has helped improve results, improve comfort level, and minimize post-operative discomfort.
Different Types of Liposuction:
Traditional Liposuction: done under general anesthesia
Tumescent Liposuction: done under local anesthesia and therefore is safer for the patient than traditional liposuction
Laser Liposuction: There are two types of Laser Liposuction
- External Laser Liposuction: This includes Coolsculpting and Zerona; the laser is only placed on the outside of the skin; no suctioning is done; this is the least invasive type of laser liposuction but results are substantially less noticable than others types of liposuction
- Internal Laser Liposuction: This includes Smartlipo, Slimlipo, and other laser systems that are similar; the laser is placed inside the skin into the fat layer and helps liquify the fat and tighten the skin; then the fat if suctioned out. This is much more effective than External Laser Liposuction. Internal Laser Liposuction is a subset of Tumescent Liposuction. This only difference is that there is an extra step between numbing and suctioning to use the laser to help liquify the fat.
Can you compare traditional liposuction with Tumescent and Laser liposuction?
|Tumescent and Laser Liposuction||Traditional Liposuction|
|Local Anesthesia||General Anesthesia|
|Laser Probe 3-4mm||Large suctioning cannula|
|Promotes skin tightening (laser lipo)||May lead to sagging skin|
|No Sutures||Suture Closure|
|Little scarring||Large scar|
|Downtime about 2 days||Downtime about 7-10 days|
How long does the procedure take?
On average, the procedure takes 2-3 hours per session.
Is there Pain or Discomfort after Laser Liposuction Surgery?
During the two days immediately after liposuction, the amount of pain experienced depends on the type of anesthesia used for liposuction.
Soreness is usually the most intense 2 to 4 days after liposuction and then decreases steadily. The tenderness and soreness typically is quite bothersome for up to 4 weeks, but gradually subsides over the following next 4 to 8 weeks.
What is the recovery after liposuction?
- off of work for 1-2 days
- pain that may require pain pills for 3-4 days
- after 3-4 days, usually patients can transition to Ibuprofen or Tylenol and don’t have pain as much as soreness
- if you do the procedure on a Thursday or Friday, you will be back to work by Monday
- exercise without high impact is fine within a few days; exercise bike, elliptical, weight training for arms and legs, walking is all fine
- exercise with high impact such as running can be resumed at about 3-4 weeks after the procedure and should be initiated gradually
How long does the compression garment need to be worn
We recommend 3 weeks 24/7 and then 3 weeks wearing the garment at least 12 hours a day.
Which Body Areas can be treated by Laser Liposuction?
The most frequently treated areas for women are the abdomen, flanks (“love-handles”), hips, outer thighs, anterior thighs, inner thighs, arms, and neck.
In men, who comprise about 20% of liposuction patients, the most commonly treated areas include the chin and neck area, abdomen, flanks (“love-handles”), and chest.
How many treatments are needed?
Only one treatment is required for most patients.
Who is a good candidate for liposuction?
Good candidates for liposuction are men and women who have concentrated areas of fat in a “trouble spot” that has been resistant to diet and exercise. We highly encourage a combined approach of continuing to diet and exercise in addition to the liposuction procedure.
Ideal liposuction candidates have good skin tone called “elasticity.” The elasticity of the skin is very important for good results because to see results the fat has to be removed and the skin has to come in.
Better elasticity of the skin will allow for more dramatic results. Loss of elasticity is caused by multiple pregnancies, large pregnancies, weight fluctuations of more than 20 or 30 lbs, and significant weight loss of more than 40 lbs (even if it was many years ago).
Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure so patients who have a BMI of over 40 may do better to lose weight first or may consider other surgical options.
How does Abdominal Laser Liposuction differ from a “Tummy Tuck”?
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a major surgical procedure requiring general anesthesia, and involves liposuction and excision to remove fat, plus a large excision of skin. Patients typically are hospitalized and have a long recovery period.
Because liposuction is safer and causes much less scarring compared to tummy tucks, abdominal liposuction is now far more common than tummy tucks and is a better solution for removed unwanted fat from the abdomen.
If your main concern is loose abdominal musculature or loose abdominal skin, then you may consider a tummy tuck. We will be glad to help you evaluate the right procedure that best suits you and your goals.
How is liposuction surgery done?
There are four main steps to the liposuction procedure:
- 1) numb the skin and then make tiny 3mm incisions hidden in the waist line or underneath the breast crease
- 2) thru these incisions we insert an “infusion cannula” that acts as a sprinkler to put numbing liquid throughout the entire area we are working on
- 3) If we are doing Laser Liposuction, then we put a laser cannula into the area and liquify the fat and tighten the skin; if your skin tone is good, you may not need the laser part of the procedure; if you are doing Tumescent Liposuction, this step is skipped and we go straight to step 4
- 4) Suctioning the Fat with a suction cannula and removing the unwanted fat from the body
Is it Normal to be Anxious before having Laser Liposuction Surgery?
Yes. Almost everyone has some degree of anxiety before having a surgical procedure, including liposuction. Don’t worry; we have seen thousands of similarly concerned patients and we will walk you through the whole process and make sure that you are comfortable every step of the way.
When can I expect to see results?
Results are visible within a few days with continuing improvement up to six months. Our before and after photos on our website are taken at 6 weeks after the procedure and much of the improvement is clearly visible by that time period.